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Month: June 2005

The Jerk (episode I)

The Jerk (episode I)

Since Amy’s first visit to Columbus was on June 27th 2004 we decided to celebrate this weekend as the one year anniversary of when we started dating. I planned to take her out to dinner and a movie. We first tried Hooters, which should be renamed Push-Ups. They didn’t really have any entrées (neither of us had been there before) so we walked out and went up the street. We ended up at Chevys and had crappy food (I guess that location is always bad). Worst Chile Relleno Ever. Anyway, all Simpsons jokes aside it was pretty bad. They wanted to charge us a dollar for sour cream (it wasn’t included in either of our dishes). We left the restaurant too late to see a movie, so we went home and watched Minority Report.

The whole week Amy had been joking that she’d bring Iyves with us to dinner. When we got back to the car she announced that he had been with us the whole time. I stared in disbelief. Then out of her purse she produced a small box and handed it to me. Inside was a black Tumi wallet. Inside the wallet was a picture of Iyves. I felt/feel like a real jerk because I didn’t get her anything. I’d actually spotted the wallet/s at Tumi when she introduced them to me at a shop in Westwood a few months before. It is the nicest wallet I’ve ever had, and instantly replaced the “genuine leathe” (sic) wallet I bought in Tijuana last year.

On Sunday we went to Hollywood Video and the girl behind the counter told me “you look just like Ewen McGregor.” This made us bust out laughing as Ewen is one of Amy’s favorite actors.

interesting

interesting

what for?

What is interesting is if you look at the state of California we’ve paid (as of the time I’m writing this) over 22.5 billion while Ohio has contributed 6. California didn’t vote a self-described “war president” into office, neither the time he was appointed by god’s divine hand nor the time he was elected.

hold up

hold up

oops,

sorry Rick

I realized that the html changes its form in this php…so the linking process changes…

I figured out how to get them to work (hint – quotation marks don’t work the same)

real links coming in a bit!

good lord…

good lord…

man do I hate programmers sometimes…

Rick Ellis (I only know that it was him because he embedded his name at the bottom of every page of this blogging program) designed Pmachine… Rick Ellis…

So anyway.. I tried putting embedded text links into my blog for the first time today…thought it was appropriate with the big parent trip and all. So now I’ve learned yet another thing pmachine CAN’T do. The stupid scripts make every URL reference in the text point to a URL WITHIN my pmachine folder… What that means is, when I tell it to have you go to www.gettycenter.edu when you click on the word “getty” what it does instead is try to send you to www.andrewlorenzlong.com/pmachine/www.gettycenter.edu” …AAARGGGG!!!!

I noticed a long time ago that adding photos directly to posts didn’t quite work… Man…this sort of programming retardation makes me want to use Friendster or Blogspot (humiliated sigh).

So, in short – sorry for all the misdirected links in the next post folks. I may try to fix it later, but sheesh I’ve got lots of other things to do besides fix Rick Ellis’ mistakes.

The rundown

The rundown

On Thursday I went straight from work to pick up my parents at the Quality Inn in Burbank. We then jetted across Burbank Boulevard to Robertson Honda to meet Amy. Dad likes the new Ridgeline, so it was also an excuse to get him into a dealership to look at it. We went to my apartment briefly and then it was off to Amazon on Ventura Boulevard. After eating my parents were too exhausted to do anything else, so I took them back to their hotel.

The next morning I bid farewell to Amy and headed over to the quality Inn to pick up my parents. We took the surface streets through Glendale, SilverLake and Echo Park into downtown. We parked on St Paul by the City of Hope building. It was time for the walking tour of downtown LA. We headed down Wilshire past my old workplace – Property ID “plaza” and made a left turn onto Flower. We walked down to the Library and across the Bunker Hill steps around Library Tower . From there we headed east on Grand Avenue past California Plaza and Museum of Contemporary Art (which was closed) to end up at the Disney Concert Hall . Across the street from there we visited the Performing Arts Center on our way to Our Lady of Angels Cathedral before crossing over the 101. After the 101 we made a right turn, then a left, and wandered into ChinaTown for a bit before turning SouthWest and heading towards Union Station . After a visit to Union Station we went to Olvera Street for lunch.

After lunch, we headed Northwest to the observation deck in City Hall. The sun finally peaked out after a morning of overcast very Ohio-ish gray sky. From there we made our way to nearby Little Tokyo before slugging through the wholesale and fashion districts on our way back up to the Figueroa international food court . After that we walked back across the 101 and to the parking garage.

After a little while on the 10 we were in Santa Monica. We walked out onto the beach and mom was sure to get her feet wet before we walked back up the hill to take a respite on the bluff before walking to Third Street Promenade . After that, they were done for the night. We took the long way back up Santa Monica Boulevard to La Brea then righting on Hollywood so they could see the walk of fame.

Saturday morning I found out that the Getty Center wouldn’t open until 10am. Since we had extra time I drove them down Mulholland Drive to the lookout point/s with a view of the valley. Once we arrived at the Getty Center we spent most of our time outside in the garden or at the viewpoints. We did manage to catch the current exhibit – The Late Religious Paintings of Rembrandt though.

From there we went down Sepulveda to Santa Monica Boulevard and took that into Beverly Hills for lunch; Dr. Veis (my boss) had recommended La Scala. Earlier in the day I had looked up the address for La Scala and found “410 N. Canon.” We looked around for and found 410 North Canon, but it was not La Scala. We decided to eat there anyway. Bad idea. The food was fairly bland and fairly expensive. After leaving and walking around for a bit we discovered that La Scala was just up the street at 434 North Canon. From there I took them through some of the Beverly Hills glitzy resedential neighborhoods. From there we drove down Sunset into West Hollywood where we passed by a 2005 Mercedes SLR McLaren (which MSRPs for $452,750) and three (different colored) Lamborghini Murcielagos all in a row. (Note: we passed a yellow Murcielago at a stop light the night before on Beverly Boulevard and saw several Bentley’s, Ferraris, Porsche’s and the like throughout the trip) We parked at Hollywood and Highland and walked down the walk of fame to the Chinese Theater . Then we went upstairs to Cold Stone Creamery for an ice cream treat. Afterwards I drove down Franklin past Bird Café and the Scientology Celebrity before heading up into the hills in a futile attempt to replicate the trip up to the Hollywood sign that I made with Byron once. It didn’t work. Even though I printed out a map of the general hills area I could seem to end up on any of the streets connecting to them. I think I needed to go a little further west, but after hitting more than three dead ends in precarious cliff streets (my car has a wide turning radius) I think my parents were getting tired of the nonsense, and I was certainly getting miffed. We went home.

Sunday we went straight down the Golden State Freeway to San Diego and ate at a Mexican place in the gaslamp district near F Street. We went to the Westfield mall there and mom bought me two pairs of sunglasses (it was buy two get a third free, so she got the free one for herself). I had been wary of picking out sunglasses because every other time I’ve tried to pick up a pair lately they’ve had flowers or jewels in them and I’ve been thoroughly embarrassed by my tendency to lean toward “pretty colors.” This time they had a few pair of blue lens glasses that didn’t look too girly, so I took them home. I had also been wary of getting cheap glasses because the last (and perhaps only) time I found a pair I liked was more than four years ago in Columbus. They were a pair of blue lens Alfinis. When they broke a few years later I was never able to find anything I liked as much. These pair still weren’t as good, but were good enough.

The glasses were just in time as our next stop was Tijuana, Mexico. We walked up the main drag and back (making a left at the “welcome to Tijuana” giant suspended sign –which now sports a video snippet of Fred Durst on the other side for some strange reason). After wandering for an hour or so my parents had had enough. We headed straight back to Los Angeles after the long walk back across the border. I dropped them off at the Quality Inn (they would fly out the next morning) around 8:30.

Phew!

Pictures coming soon in a zip (like the San Francisco trip)

damn computers

damn computers

Prologue: Three months ago I bought a 21” refurbished Dell monitor (I probably posted about this…) at Frys for $256. I decided to do this because the two 19” were starting to annoy me and I needed a solid “good” monitor to work on. I didn’t consider LCDs as I was a hardline “CRTs are better for graphic design” kinda guy. I also had already bought a dual VGA video card in January when I discovered the Dell “integrated” graphics card on my new computer did not have two VGA ports or even two ports at all (yet they still described it as “dual monitor capable” for some reason in the tech specs). Having the dual VGA card meant I had a total of three VGA ports… so why not have three monitors. The video card cost me about $150. It sells for $99 currently.

Now, back to the present:

As some of you know, I embarked on a journey to replace my triple-monitor CRT setup with a dual LCD configuration. I had many reasons for this that I won’t go into here. I had to buckle and reconsider LCDs quality after using two 19” Samsung 910Ts at work for the past three months. Originally I wanted the new dell 24” wide aspect LCD. I read about smooth talkers who convinced Dell reps to sell it for $850 out the door. Keeping my fingers crossed I began contacting these same salesmen (and women). To my chagrin they would go no lower than 999. A decent second monitor (I would not be satisfied with a a paltry 20” wide screen in front of me after getting used to seeing over 3000 pixels from left to right) was going to run at least $400. That made the price approach $1500. I took one last look at the dimensions of the 2405fpw and the 2005fpw and concluded the difference was not that great. Then I started to wonder how cheap I could get the 2005fpw for. The reps were still sticklers for near-retail prices. However, I found a “dell small business” short term coupon for 40% off on the 2005fpw. I decided to end my endless internal debate and order two 20” wide aspect dells late Monday night. The price with shipping and tax was just shy of $990. A hair less than the price of ONE 24” with a “great deal” from the reps I was talking to.

I knew I needed a dual DVI video card to power these puppies, so I headed over to Newegg and ordered one for $160. The monitors and video card came Thursday night. Technically I had go up to Van Nuys for the monitors but Selwyn was home to take delivery of the video card. I tried to pick up the monitors on my way home from work Thursday but the driver hadn’t brought his truck back in yet. I decided to go home and install the video card, then pick up the monitors. I carefully unwrapped the card and proceeded to install it…. Er… proceeded to …. Proceed… damn..it isn’t going in… hmm…slot A doesn’t seem to match tab B… hmmm… -turns out my board’s slots are all PCI, and the card I ordered was PCI-Express. Now Newegg doesn’t pay for return shipping, doesn’t refund original shipping, and charges a 15% “restocking fee.” So I slowly came to the realization that I just flushed $40 down the toilet and would have to go elsewhere for a video card. I looked online only to find that PCI dual DVI cards are rare and expensive to the tune of $2000 for the average and $700 for bargain basement. No good.

I thought I had a DVI port on my Dell integrated video card so I thought I’d pick up another video card with a single DVI port on my way back from picking up the monitors at UPS. I did that and found a Circuit City in Van Nuys. I bought a fairly cheap ATI with a DVI port. When I got home and looked at my integrated video card I realized that it DIDN’T have a DVI port. So I installed the ATI card and ran the 2nd monitor off of the VGA connection. The difference in clarity between the two was obvious and I knew I had to get another card to have both monitors in DVI. However, the DVI side was troubling. Windows would jerk around when dragged across the screen, scrolling on web pages was impossible, and DVDs refused to play until the color bit setting was set back to 16. This was only on the DVI connection though, the VGA did all these tasks fine. I was extremely flustered, but it was getting quite late so I decided to go to bed.

Friday night Amy came over and wasn’t feeling good, so we stayed in and watched movies on the new monitor/s. (Recall the DVDs wouldn’t play on the DVI monitor, but would on the VGA connection) The colors of the DVDs were very bright, but dark scenes suffered as black looked gray and dark tonal values were just washed out completely. It didn’t seem to bother Amy that much (although she did say she noticed it) but it really bothered me.

Saturday night we headed to Frys and I bought two (identical) ATI video cards with DVI out, hydravision dual monitor support, and 256 DDR of onboard RAM. After much configuring I was able to get both monitors to run in sparkling DVI clarity with no jerky movement. I had to plug one into the Dell VGA port first..then get the ATI drivers installed, then put one and then the other monitors on the VGA ports on the new video cards…then one and then the other onto the DVI ports. So, technically now my system recognized five separate monitor connections – 3 VGA and 2 DVI. An Ironic twist considering that means I could run this setup AND my CRT setup at the same time if I wanted (which I don’t). I’m happy with the setup, but I’m anxious to watch another DVD to see if the dark tones improved at all with the use of a DVI connection. The monitors have a 600:1 contrast ratio. Not the best, but not the worst. The 24” dells have a ratio of 1000:1…is that worth another grand?

Epilogue: So, in January through April I spent approximately $400 upgrading my monitor setup. Now I have to try to sell all of that “old” stuff. I will probably get less than half that amount back and now I have $40 down the drain on the newegg video card return as well. Was it worth it? Why don’t you come for a visit, take a look, and let me know what you think?

JamBand

JamBand

Last night Aaron and I jammed with Aldo and Jeremiah. It was the first time we’d met with or played with the guys, but we’d been trying to set it up for over a month. The session was only two hours and we needed a much longer time. The songs came pretty easily to us and everyone seemed happy with what everyone else was doing.

Interesting fact about Aldo #1: He claims to know Brian Bell was almost the new weezer bassist in 1997 when Matt Sharp quit. (“Mikey” something eventually got the job..only to be replaced and have his successor replaced after him)

Interesting fact about Aldo #2: He drives the same car that Aaron did six months ago (minus the convertible top); a silver Volvo C70 (oops, Aaron’s was actually cream colored)

Interesting fact about Aldo #3: He looks exactly like a thinner version of Nick Lachey (better known to most of us as Jessica Simpson’s husband).

Interesting fact about Jeremiah #1: He has a real nice bass guitar

Interesting fact about Jeremiah #2: He likes to write his basslines in and around the pentatonic scale, which makes it easy for me to pick up stuff.

Everyone was pretty happy with the jam and we plan to get together again when we can find the time. The songs had a very Mogwai ish sound. Through communications afterward we all agreed we’d like to pursue a Mogwai theme but with more concrete movements, melodic themes, and vocals…and maybe some more grungy power chords thrown in there for more colour.

The DVD on the jam from two weeks ago is still forthcoming…but I’m not so concerned about that anymore as last nights was far more fruitful and natural for me. When we jammed with Garen I felt like I was the Brad Whitford to his Joe Perry. Sort of humiliating to watch on video (or at least I’m assuming it will be…).

not zazzle…or me…but hey…

not zazzle…or me…but hey…

so a friend of mine in Hot-Lanta (not to be confused with My-Lanta) Georgia sent me a link to his clothing store. This is like the thing I did with zazzle awhile back, but his shirts are more consumer oriented (i.e. Pac-Sun t-shirt wall) than mine were and will probably sell better. Or at least to more people than my immediate family (sigh…).

http://www.cafepress.com/theboxthebox